Socialist Worker

LETTERS - Drill music panic is a ploy to distract from real issues

Issue No. 2600

Some of the headlines targeting drill music as responsible for violence

Some of the headlines linking drill with violence

I’ve been frustrated to see headlines blame drill music for the recent rise in stabbings in London.

Drill, or trap, music is intentionally ugly. It describes gang culture, drug dealing and the—often exaggerated—violence that goes with it.

But gang culture and the music that reflects it is a symptom of a system that demonises, excludes and criminalises young black people.

It is caused by poverty, Tory austerity, and racist and classist policing. This pushes people to the edges of society where they are most vulnerable to fall into exploitation by gang leaders.

Arguing that people would join a gang and stab people because they listened to a song completely ignores this context.

It is intended to distract us from the real issues.

Of course, in defending drill music, we do not grant artists immunity to criticism.

Many top artists use reactionary lyrics. Most songs have disgustingly high levels of sexism and they direct hate against “opps”—people living in the same conditions, just in different areas.


Gang culture uses the same patterns of exploitation as any legal business. A majority of people do the majority of the work for a minority of the rewards.

As socialists we should challenge all of this. The biggest “opps” are the government and the ruling class who benefit from this sort of division.

Artists who fit into a marketable “gangsta” image are promoted, while those who question the system are vilified. NWA were targeted by police and the FBI for their anti-racist song “Fuck the Police”.

Lowkey faced police raids because of the political content of his songs as did Smiley Culture, who died during a police raid.

I would like to defend Drill artists’ right to be angry and to express this through music.

But to improve the situation we need to question the system—we need class analysis.

Name and address provided 

Tories’ cuts make life grim for young people

Over 80 percent of social workers told a recent survey by Community Care magazine that they had unmanageable caseloads.

Austerity means poverty, housing problems and mental health difficulties for millions of young people.

But cuts mean less support for those at risk.

Recent deaths of young people have met with the only response the government knows—more repression via stop and search. The government and the system drive more and more young people into a life with high levels of risk of violence.

We have to change these grim experiences.

The best hope of doing that is fighting for services, challenging state racism and struggling for a radical change in how we treat young people.

Huw Williams, Bristol

Thanks for Palestine coverage

Labour right wingers and other defenders of Israel have been working overtime to smear Jeremy Corbyn.

They try to equate opposition to the Israeli government’s murderous violence with antisemitism.

Thanks to Socialist Worker for cutting through this nonsense in such a clear and forthright way.

The uncompromising headline “Israel Racist Terror State” and the following articles were excellent.

We need more of this and we need to get the message out as far and wide as possible.

Martin Lynch, Walsall

Sign petition to stop tests

I’d like to draw Socialist Worker readers’ attention to a petition against baseline testing.

Organised by the More Than a Score group, it calls on the government to scrap plans for baseline assessment tests for four and five year olds.

Over 700 people signed a previous open letter by the campaign opposing the new national test.

Many teachers, academics, early years experts and parents rightly fear that the tests will be damaging to children.

You can sign the petition at and please encourage others to do the same.

Dr Richard House, Chartered psychologist, Stroud

Don’t put your hopes in Labour

As sure as death and taxes, you can be sure once a year of a Socialist Worker headline, Labour councils must fight the Tory cuts (Socialist Worker, 11 April).

And what happens? Nothing. The moment Labour councils have to face up to Tory central government the arse falls out of their trousers.

In Scotland that Labour has made alliances with the Tories to keep the SNP out.

If you think the official Labour Party are going to organise on the streets, think again. That’s the last thing they want to happen as they then lose control of the situation

So please come up with a different analysis.

Alan Wilson, On Facebook

Take on the warmongers

Boris Johnson and his doppelganger across the pond are intent on bringing us to Armaggedon!

Pity they haven’t the brains to realise that they won’t be alive to celebrate their success.

All war is futile—money down the drain which should have been used for the benefit of humankind.

Jean Lorriman, Huddersfield

Inspiring act of solidarity

Good on the Eurostar workers for refusing to scab on strikers in France (Socialist Worker, 11 April).

Annette, South Yorkshire

Much love for you, British friends.

Elouan Keryell-Even, Toulouse, France

Corbyn slurs pose a danger

Protesters comparing Jeremy Corbyn to Hitler is so dangerous (Socialist Worker, 11 April).

Conflating antisemitism with legitimate concern about Israel plays into the hands of antisemites.

Simon Martin Halstead, On Facebook

Margaret Thatcher said, when they start insulting you personally they don’t have a single argument left.

The Tories have to lie and cheat and use their mates in the media to deflect the truth.

Martin Towle, On Facebook

If anyone can compare Jeremy Corbyn to Hitler, they need to get educated.

Britain should be disgusted by the lengths it’s going to.

Helen Graham, On Facebook

Which model next for SNP?

The SNP have a “wee country of the month competition” in Holyrood to decide which is going to be the model for a future ‘independent Scotland’ (Socialist Worker, 11 April).

Coming soon, Bhutan!

John McNab, On Facebook

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Article information

Tue 17 Apr 2018, 15:40 BST
Issue No. 2600
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